Toyota Motor unveiled a new battery-powered bZ4X SUV, the first model in its new BZ (Beyond Zero) series of electric vehicles (EVs) based on a dedicated EV platform and designed for global markets.

The new compact SUV was scheduled to be launched worldwide from mid 2022 including in North America, Japan, China and Europe.

It has an estimated range of around 500km (300 miles) per charge and is powered by a 71KWh battery pack which can be recharged to 80% in 30 minutes. The front wheel drive model has a 150kW motor and the 4WD two 80kW motors.

The bZ4X is the first of seven bZ models scheduled to be launched by 2025 and is part of the company’s strategy of introducing a full line of electrified vehicles comprising hybrids (HEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), battery-powered EVs (BEVs) and fuel cell models (FCEVs) to maximise consumer choice.

The purpose-built BEV platform was developed jointly with Subaru and provides “impressive driving performance through a low centre of gravity and greater rigidity”.

Toyota said the platform delivered off-road performance required for SUVs as well as a “smooth, intuitive driving performance” required by all types of vehicles.

The platform gives the bZ4X extra wide cabin space more akin to a D-segment vehicle along with medium-segment SUV legroom for the front and rear seats. It has a low-level, upholstered instrument panel, large panoramic roof (dependent on trim level/options) plus high soundproofing glass and wind noise reduction to reduce cabin noise.